Serpentico has revealed that he almost quit wrestling before joining AEW.
Appearing on a recent episode of Talk Is Jericho alongside his partner in Chaos Project Luther, Serpentico explained that after 18 years of hard work, he felt as though wrestling was beginning to wear him down.
The AEW star revealed that he began to question whether all of the work and travel was worth it. Adding that he wanted to have a family and have more stability in his life, something which seemed almost impossible as the COVID-19 pandemic began.
“After 18 years and you’ve had multiple, not try-outs, but you’ve been doing extra work for NXT, Impact and Ring of Honor and nothing really comes back out of it, you kind of get demoralized,” Serpentico admitted. “After a while, I’m like, ‘Do I really want to keep sacrificing my family and not being home on the weekends’ because I had a pretty full schedule for an independent wrestler, actually making a living on the indies after so long. But because I was making a living, I would wrestle Friday, Saturday and Sunday and come home Monday.
“I would schedule bookings throughout the week and try to make connections and then leaving on Friday. So it was a lot of work. I would work all across the states. I would do Canada, Mexico, but after a while, it becomes a grind where it’s fun but where is this leading me to? I can’t do this forever. I want to build a family. I want to have a house. I want to do all these things that I can’t do because it’s really hard for me to juggle everything at once, and then once the pandemic hit, everything stopped. All my bookings dried up.”
As the pandemic took hold, the world of professional wrestling, especially on an independent level, ground to a halt. Serpentico expanded further, detailing how he questioned how he would go on after having ten bookings cancelled.
“I had around 10 WrestleMania weekend bookings for last year, and on the same day, they all got canceled. This is my rent. This is my livelihood. What am I going to do now? There’s no way I can bounce back from this, I thought, because I like to think that I’m a very forward thinker, and I realized, well, this has never happened before. This is unprecedented. How am I, out of millions of wrestlers on the planet, going to jumpstart my career after this is over. I realized that this is it. This is something telling me, ‘Alright, you should probably stop, regroup, get ‘real job’ and then start over from scratch.”
This led the high flyer to open up about the extent of his situation on Facebook. Little did he know at the time, that the post would eventually lead to him joining AEW, thanks in part to his long-time friend QT Marshall.
“I wanted to quit, until AEW came around,” Serpentico stated. “I live in Orlando. Me and QT Marshall go way back, trained at Bubba and D-Von’s school. I was dead set against sending an email or asking for help.
“I put something on Facebook. ‘Hey, this is real. I’m not the only one, but this is my story. This is what happened. I lost my job. I lost my wrestling gigs. All my money dried up I’m living off of savings, but just wanted you to know, you’re not alone. We can get through this together.’ I’ve never asked him about this, but maybe two hours later, QT texted me, ‘Hey, do you want to come to Jacksonville?’ I’m like ‘Okay, sure. I’ll come down.’ This is great.
“I’ll wrestle you and Dustin. That’ll be my final matches. I didn’t expect anything to come out of this. I’ll just do this, and go make a couple bucks and pay my rent. I came in, did the match and they were happy with it. And then they texted me for the next week and the next week and the next week.”
After initially performing as Jon Cruz, the Puerto Rican star didn’t debut his Serpentico alias until he faced off against Darby Allin. Serpentico added that it was this match that sold Tony Khan on his work.
“I didn’t debut Serpentico until I wrestled Darby, and that was maybe a month or two after,” Serpentico noted. “QT would ask, ‘What character do you want to use?’ I’m like, ‘Well, it depends on the match,’ because if it’s just a regular tag match, I’ll do Jon Cruz because I think Serpentico could stand out on his own if he’s by himself in a singles.
“So it was always tag matches until one day he texted me, ‘You’re doing a tag match on Wednesday, and you’ll do a singles on Thursday. And on Thursday, you’ll wrestle Darby Allin.’ I’m like, ‘Oh, can I be Serpentico with that?’ He’s like, ‘Sure, and I did.
“And I didn’t know this until October where Tony stopped me and told me, ‘Hey, the match with Darby is one that sold me on you,’ because he had no idea that Jon Cruz and Serpentico were the same person. The match was over and then because we have no fans, we go on break and we walk back to the tunnels, and he met me halfway. He’s like, ‘I had no idea that was you,’ and I’d been here for two months already doing so.”
Serpentico later ended up teaming with Luther, a man who he says opened him with open arms.
“I am very fortunate, and I told Lenny this in private, if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know where I’d be,” Serpentico admitted. “Tony put us together, and he was all for it. He could have said no. He’s been wrestling for 30 plus years. He could have said, ‘Well, it’s not for me. Who is this guy?’ And he welcomed me with open arms, and he trusts literally any idea I have. I’m like, ‘Hey, what about this this week?’ And he never thinks. He says, ‘Yes, let’s go. Let’s do it. Let’s do it,’ and it’s it’s something that I appreciate because not everyone would be that way.”
Luther added that during their first match, his sole purpose was to make sure that his partner got signed by the company. Serpentico went on to describe the night that he officially joined the company.
“Our first match together, we were walking out and my exact words to him were, all I wanted, this match, was to get him signed,” Luther recalled. “That’s all I said. I don’t care what happens. All I want is for you to get signed. You’re a good guy. You deserve it.
“We did that match, and the next day, I wrestled Scorpio Sky,” Serpentico said. “Tapings run so late. I walked back a mile to the locker room. There’s nobody there. Everyone went home. I just changed by myself, and I’m taking my boots off.
“A few minutes later, Christopher Daniels comes in asking for me. I’m like, I’m in trouble. What did I do? What mistake did I make? He pulled me aside, and he said, ‘Hey, this is for all the hard work you’ve done the last few months. This is for you’ and just signed me right there.”
Serpentico was last in action on AEW Dark, where he was defeated by Stu Grayson.
H/t to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.